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Sunday Hymn: Join All the Glorious Names

Join all the glorious names
Of wisdom, love, and power,
That ever mortals knew,
That angels ever bore:
All are too mean to speak His worth,
To poor to set my Savior forth.

But O what gentle terms,
What condescending ways,
Doth our Redeemer use
To teach his heav’nly grace!
Mine eyes with joy and wonder see
What forms of love He bears for me.

Arrayed in mortal flesh,
He like an angel stands,
And holds the promises
And pardons in His hands;
Commissioned from His Father’s throne
To make His grace to mortals known.

Great prophet of my God,
My tongue would bless Thy name,
By Thee the joyful news
Of our salvation came,
The joyful news of sin forgiv’n
Of hell subdued, and peace with Heav’n.

Be Thou my counselor,
My pattern, and my guide,
And through this desert land
Still keep me near thy side:
Nor let my feet e’er run astray
Nor rove nor seek the crooked way.

I love my Shepherd’s voice,
His watchful eyes shall keep
My wand’ring soul among
The thousands of His sheep:
He feeds His flock, He calls their names,
His bosom bears the tender lambs.

To this dear surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfils
His Father’s broken laws:
Behold my soul at freedom set!
My surety paid the dreadful debt.

Jesus, my great high priest,
Offered His blood, and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside:
His powerful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne.

My advocate appears
For my defense on high;
The Father bows His ears,
And lays His thunder by:
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn His heart, His love away.

My dear almighty Lord,
My conqueror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword,
Thy reigning grace I sing:
Thine is the power; behold I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.

Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down;
My captain leads me forth
To conquest and a crown:
A feeble saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.

Should all the hosts of death,
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and mischief on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power, and guardian grace.

—Isaac Watts

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Round the Sphere Again: Terminology

Today was Canada Day, Canada’s holiday that’s the equivalent to (sort of) American Independence Day. We celebrate in much the same way, but there’ll be no fireworks where I live. It’s too light at any decent hour for that.

Here are a couple of interesting links dealing with one of my favorite subjects—words and word meaning.

This is one of my pet peeve words, at least when it’s used to describe the human condition since the fall. And I’ve been hearing it used that way a lot lately. The trouble with brokenness is that it downplays our problem; it’s true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. 

Randy Newman of The Gospel Coalition Blog writes: 

God describes our sin many ways—almost all of which are far worse than “broken.” We’re rebellious, idolatrous, lost, enslaved, disobedient, adulterous, and—in case the point wasn’t pressed far enough—dead. If we see our sin as mere brokenness, our repentance and abhorrence at sin won’t push us in the opposite direction hard enough. And our appreciation of the cross as the only cure will be replaced with self-effort and legalism.

You really must read the whole piece—and the discussion in the comments, too.

I first heard this term a few years ago. I’ve never seen it defined and it isn’t one of God’s attributes in any of the systematic theologies I have. When I first heard it, it was used to mean something like this: to only, always, and ever wish good things, and only good things, for everyone.

Brandon Watson at Siris discusses the history of this word, its possible meanings, and its use for stating the problem of evil.


Christianity and Liberalism: Chapter 5

So I was wrong. This week’s chapter of Christianity and Liberalism, which I am reading because I am participating in this round Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together, is not about the message of Christianity, but about “the person upon whom the message is based. The Person is Jesus.”

Machen starts the chapter by making this point: In true Christianity, Jesus is the object of faith, while in liberalism, he is merely an example of faith. In other words, a Christian will put his faith in Jesus. He will, to use Machen’s words, stand “in a truly religious relation to Jesus.” The modern liberal, on the other hand, “tries to have faith in God like the faith which he supposes Jesus had in God; but he does not have faith in Jesus.”

I have to admit that I found this chapter more difficult to follow than the previous chapters. (And while I’m complaining, let me say that it’s long, too.) It wasn’t that any of it was hard to understand, but that I couldn’t always see how Machen was fitting it all together, so I put some points into bulleted lists to help me see the overall structure of the chapter. I’m using those lists here  and adding a few notes to them.

Reasons Jesus should be the object of the Christian’s faith:

  • For Paul, faith in Jesus was the primary thing. 
  • The original apostles made Jesus the object of their faith.
  • Jesus presented himself as  the object of faith.

Machen summarizes:

The truth is, the witness of the New Testament, with regard to Jesus as the object of faith, is an absolutely unitary witness. The thing is rooted far too deep in the records of primitive Christianity ever to be removed by any critical process. The Jesus spoken of in the New Testament was no mere teacher of righteousness, no mere pioneer in the new type of religious life, but One who was regarded, and regarded Himself, as the Saviour whom men could trust.

Reasons Jesus can’t be simply an example for us: 

  • Jesus considered himself to be the Messiah; we can hardly imitate him there. What’s more, if, as modern liberals believe, this claim is untrue, it’s a “moral stain upon Jesus’ character.” How can he then be a good example for us? 
  • Jesus had no sense of sin, and if Jesus is sinless, then he isn’t just one of us. There is a big difference between what Jesus experienced and what we experience. “That difference prevents the religious experience of Jesus from serving as the sole basis of the Christian life.”

That Jesus didn’t need to rid himself of sin and can’t, then, be our complete example doesn’t mean he isn’t human, nor does it mean he isn’t our example in any way. He is our ethical example and he is also our example when it comes to our relationship with God. But most of all, he is our Saviour. 

These contrasting views of the primary role of Jesus—Saviour or example?—come because Christianity and liberalism see the nature of Jesus differently. “[L]iberalism regards Jesus as the fairest flower of humanity; Christianity regards Him as a supernatural Person.” Liberalism rejects miracles, “and with the miracles the entirety of the supernatural Person of our Lord.”

Reject the miracles and you have in Jesus the fairest glower of humanity who made such an impression upon His followers that after His death they could not believe that He had perished but experienced hallucinations in which they thought they saw Him risen from the dead; accept the miracles, and you have a Saviour who came voluntarily into this world for our salvation, suffered for our sins upon the Cross, rose again from the dead by the power of God, and ever lives to make intercession for us. 

Once again, we see that Christianity and modern liberalism are really two different religions: first, in the presuppositions (chapter 3); next, in the authority by which the Christian message is received (chapter 4); and now in the central person upon whom the message is based (chapter 5). Coming up, it’s  the sixth chapter which discusses the message of Christianity, the gospel itself. 


Thankful Thursday

Today is moving day for my son and his wife. My sons are busy right now moving things from one home to the other. I’m still thankful that they found a place to rent. It’s old and tiny and nothing’s level, but it’s a home and it’s available and clean and there’s a yard. I know people living in a lot worse and people who can find nothing at all, so this little home is a good gift from God.

I’m thankful that we are getting mail again after a couple week of no mail delivery due to a mail strike/lockout. I’m expecting a few good things in the mail, so the renewed mail delivery is a good gift, too.

I’m thankful that the garden is growing. I’m thankful for the long daylight hours that make the plants grow fast. I’m thankful for the recent rain, because it’s good for growing things, too. I’m thankful for summer, a short season here, but a beautiful one.

I’m thankful for God’s care for me and my family.

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.


Round the Sphere Again: Double-booking

Church History
Two of my favorite blogging women review Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History by Diana Lynn Severance.

  1. The Upward Call:
    This book, as the title suggests, deals wth women in the course of the history of Church, beginning with the women in the early New Testament and concluding with the present. The author does a thorough job showing the reader that Christian women provide a significant portion of the fabric of the church, whether those threads were ultimately good or bad.
    Read more.

  2. Lisa Writes:
    I was inspired and challenged by the grace of God and the fruit of the gospel borne by these, my forerunners in the faith. Some were quite wealthy and used their wealth and influence to advance the gospel. Some were poor, destitute, martyered for their adherance to Christ. Nearly all demonstrated a fervency in biblical scholarship and a thirst for knowledge that both encourages and shames me.
    Read more.

Two reviews of the new biography of John MacArthur by Iain Murray.

  1. Thabiti Anyabwile:
    I completely enjoyed reading the biography in part because I’ve long respected Dr. MacArthur.  Along with R.C. Sproul, MacArthur was my first Bible teacher.  Moreover, he was probably the first example of expository preaching I heard on a regular basis through the Grace to You radio broadcast.  So, it was a treat for me to get to know more about this living hero.
    But he wishes the biography had said more about two things. Find out what they are.

  2. Fred Butler:
    Out of all the biographies I have ever read, this one is probably the most unique - at for me. The main reason being is because I personally know the biographical subject and his family. Additionally, I also know many of the individuals mentioned throughout the book, and I have firsthand knowledge of a good many of the events in John’s life of which Murray writes. It made reading the book a bit surreal at times, but it caused me to step back and thank the Lord how he has allowed me to be apart of such a influential ministry.
    Read more.